Oil Spill Haute Couture: Stained Shoes for a Good Cause

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It may be the most absurd fashion statement since Zoolander.

The “Derelicte” fashion campaign, conceived by Will Ferrell as the campy Mugatu in Zoolander, was the first of its kind. With rainwear inspired by hobos and trash accessories inspired by vagrants, he made filthy oh-so-chic. But a California company is about to give Mugatu a run for his dirty, sexy money with a new line of men’s shoes meant to capture the essence of the Gulf oil spill.

There are three styles in the collection, two of which are, appropriately, boat shoes. (The other is a boot.) And each comes from retailer Bed Stü covered in what look like oil splotches, though the mess is actually created through a scorching-dying process. All of the proceeds will go to continuing cleanup efforts, and they’re due to be sold by November on Amazon.com, the Urban Outfitters website and Bed Stü’s site starting at $85. (While that might sound expensive, there’s Bed Stü footwear currently going for $795. Philanthropy, it seems, is much cheaper than fashion.) The company says 100% of the profits will be donated to the National Wildlife Federation.

Reactions so far have been mixed. Some have called the shoes an example of “conspicuous conservation,” as in “only people who need everyone to know how altruistic they are would ever wear these things.” Others have gone with the more diplomatic “interesting” label. “People love it or they hate it,” says Nicole Beltrami, a publicist for the company. Certainly not everyone could pull these off, but it’s always worth slipping them on, giving the mirror your best “Blue Steel” and seeing what happens.

– Katy Steinmetz

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